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Hand Drawing Tutorial: One Point Perspective

Today, we’re going to look at drawing in perspective. Mastering basic perspective is crucial for drawing outdoor environments, where we almost always experience depth of space.

Perspective drawings are usually used for presentational drawings, but they’re useful for fast sketches as well. And even if we don’t construct an exact perspective when we are sketching outside, it’s important to have a feeling for it, since that helps us draw and sketch faster.

Let’s look at some tips for drawing a perspective. We start with a straight horizontal line called »the horizon«. The most important thing to remember about this line is that it is the eye height of all the people in the drawing! To understand this, draw some simple figures in the drawing. The ones up close have the eyes on the level of the horizon line. Now if we want to draw a figure that’s further away, we start drawing another one with the eyes on the horizon line, but make it smaller. It appears to be further away. We can draw a lot of these for exercise and make a group of people walking towards some unknown location in the distance.

What I usually do, is use a person as the basic measurement in the drawing. An average person about 1,6 or 1,7 meters high. That means, that if this person is walking on a path 2 meters wide, we can project his height on the ground beneath him and get an approximation of the path width. Once we have a path width, we can draw a path that ends in the vanishing point.

This is also useful for drawing the approximate tree sizes.  Remember that the tree trunk is almost always higher than a person. So the canopy starts above the heads of the people in the drawing. If a tree is further away, you can use a person in the distance for the measurement.

Now let’s look at 3 steps of drawing a perspective with one vanishing point:

1. Draw a horizon line, which represents the eye-height.

2. Pick a point on the horizon as your vanishing point. I suggest putting in off center, since it’s too symmetrical and boring if the vanishing point is in the center. All the lines that are parallel to each other in plan are going to end in that vanishing point.

3. Draw a figure, so you get a feeling of scale. It’s eyes are on the horizon line.You can also add other vertical elements such as trees. Remember, use the figure to determine the height of trees. It’s trunk has to be higher than the horizon line. You can use the same method to determine the height of buildings. All of the lines of the facades, which are parallel to the path, will also vanish in the vanishing point. 

I hope this tutorial will help you get the right feeling of perspective in your fast sketches.

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